Later this year, the U.S. Navy intends to award a new contract to support and upgrade the world’s largest IT network. The current contract, called the Next Generation Enterprise Network (NGEN), involves some 400,000 computers and 800,000 users at 2,500 locations, primarily in the continental United States but also including Marine Corps sites overseas. The new contract, the Next Generation Enterprise Networks Re-compete (NGEN-R), will support a set of networks that truly spans the globe and which will be at the heart of operations by the Sea Services in peace and war. In defining the requirements for the NGEN-R contract, it is not enough to focus on acquiring current technology more cheaply and efficiently or improving on the delivery of existing services. It is imperative that NGEN-R reflect an understanding of how the Navy’s concepts of operations are likely to evolve and where technology and the IT industry are heading. Otherwise, the Navy risks operating networks that are perpetually behind the power curve with respect to military requirements, the state of the art in decision sciences and the evolution of information technologies. I have written about how the NGEN-R contract should be structured for RealClearDefense here.
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